The oral contraceptive pill revolutionized the reproductive choices for women, but there has remained a suggestion that its use could increase the risk of developing breast cancer. In 27 June New England Journal of Medicine, Polly Marchbanks and colleagues at Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, show that current or former oral-contraceptive use is not associated with a significantly increased risk of breast cancer (N Engl J Med 2002, 346:2025-2032).

Marchbanks et al. conducted a population-based, case–control study on 4575 women with breast cancer and 4682 controls. They observed that the use of oral contraceptives by women with a family history of breast cancer was not associated with an increased risk of developing breast cancer, nor was beginning to take the pill at a young age. The relative risk of breast cancer was 1.0 for women who were currently using oral contraceptives and 0.9 for those...

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